CA2388360C - Apparatus for and method of anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit - Google Patents

Apparatus for and method of anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2388360C
CA2388360C CA 2388360 CA2388360A CA2388360C CA 2388360 C CA2388360 C CA 2388360C CA 2388360 CA2388360 CA 2388360 CA 2388360 A CA2388360 A CA 2388360A CA 2388360 C CA2388360 C CA 2388360C
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Canada
Prior art keywords
conduit
device
tubular
section
expandable
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Fee Related
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CA 2388360
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French (fr)
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CA2388360A1 (en
Inventor
Peter Oosterling
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e2 Tech Ltd
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e2 Tech Ltd
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Publication date
Priority to GB9920935.5 priority Critical
Priority to GBGB9920935.5A priority patent/GB9920935D0/en
Application filed by e2 Tech Ltd filed Critical e2 Tech Ltd
Priority to PCT/GB2000/003406 priority patent/WO2001018354A1/en
Publication of CA2388360A1 publication Critical patent/CA2388360A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of CA2388360C publication Critical patent/CA2388360C/en
Application status is Expired - Fee Related legal-status Critical
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/02Subsoil filtering
    • E21B43/10Setting of casings, screens, liners or the like in wells
    • E21B43/103Setting of casings, screens, liners or the like in wells of expandable casings, screens, liners, or the like
    • E21B43/105Expanding tools specially adapted therefor
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B23/00Apparatus for displacing, setting, locking, releasing, or removing tools, packers or the like in the boreholes or wells
    • E21B23/01Apparatus for displacing, setting, locking, releasing, or removing tools, packers or the like in the boreholes or wells for anchoring the tools or the like
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/02Subsoil filtering
    • E21B43/10Setting of casings, screens, liners or the like in wells
    • E21B43/103Setting of casings, screens, liners or the like in wells of expandable casings, screens, liners, or the like

Abstract

Apparatus and methods are disclosed for anchoring a first conduit (10) to a second conduit (12). The first conduit (10) is typically an expandable conduit whereby a portion of the first conduit is expanded by applying a radial force thereto to provide an anchor and/or seal between the first (10) and second (12) conduits. An inflatable device (14) is provided that can be used to provide a temporary anchor whilst the first (expandable) conduit (10) is radially expanded. An expander device (16) that is capable of applying a radial expansion force to the first conduit (10) is optionally attached to the inflatable device (14).

Description

1 "Apparatus for and Method of Anchoring a First Conduit 2 to a Second Conduit"

4 The present invention relates to an apparatus for and a method of anchoring a first conduit to a second 6 conduit, the apparatus and method particularly, but not 7 exclusively, using an inflatable device to provide a 8 temporary anchor.

A borehole is conventionally drilled during the 11 recovery of hydrocarbons from a well, the borehole 12 typically being lined with a casing. Casings are 13 installed to prevent the formation around the borehole 14 from collapsing. In addition, casings prevent unwanted fluids from the surrounding formation from flowing into 16 the__borehole, and.similarly, prevents fluids..f.rom.

17 within the borehole escaping into the surrounding 18 formation.

1 Boreholes are conventionally drilled and cased in a 2 cascaded manner; that is, casing of the borehole begins 3 at the top of the well with a relatively large outer 4 diameter casing. Subsequent casing of a smaller diameter is passed through the inner diameter of the 6 casing above, and thus the outer diameter of the 7 subsequent casing is limited by the inner diameter of 8 the preceding casing. Thus, the casings are cascaded 9 with the diameters of the casing lengths reducing as the depth of the well increases. This gradual 11 reduction in diameter results in a relatively small 12 inside diameter casing near the bottom of the well that 13 could limit the amount of hydrocarbons that can be 14 recovered. In addition, the relatively large diameter borehole at the top of the well involves increased 16 costs due to the large drill bits required, heavy 17 equipment for handling the larger casing, and increased 18 volumes of drill fluid that are required.

Each casing is typically cemented into place by filling 21 cement into an annulus created between the casing and 22 the surrounding formation. A thin slurry cement is 23 pumped down into the casing followed by a rubber plug 24 on top of the cement. Thereafter, drilling fluid is pumped down the casing above the cement that is pushed 26 out of the.bottom of. the casing and into the annulus.
27 Pumping of drilling fluid is stopped when the plug 28 reaches the bottom of the casing and the wellbore must 29 be left, typically for several hours, whilst the cement dries. This operation requires an increase in rig time 31 due to the cement pumping and hardening process, that 32 can substantially increase production costs.

2 It is known to use a pliable casing that can be 3 radially expanded so that an outer surface of the 4 casing contacts the formation around the borehole. The pliable casing undergoes plastic deformation when 6 expanded, typically by passing an expander device, such 7 as a ceramic or steel cone or the like, through the 8 casing. The expander device is propelled along the 9 casing in a similar manner to a pipeline pig and may be pushed (using fluid pressure for example) or pulled 11 (using drill pipe, rods, coiled tubing, a wireline or 12 the like).

14 Lengths of expandable casing are coupled together (typically by threaded couplings) to produce a casing 16 string. The casing string is inserted into the 17 borehole in an unexpanded state and is subsequently 18 expanded using the expander device, typically using a 19 substantial force to facilitate the expansion process.
However, the unexpanded casing string requires to be 21 anchored either at or near an upper end or a lower end 22 thereof during the expansion process to prevent undue 23 movement. This is because when the casing string is in 24 an unexpanded state, an outer surface of the casing string does not contact the surrounding borehole 26 formation or an inner_face of a pre-installed casing or 27 liner (until at least a portion of the casing has been 28 radially expanded), and thus there is no inherent 29 initial anchoring point.
31 Slips are conventionally used to temporarily anchor the 32 unexpanded casing to the borehole during the expansion 1 process. Slips are generally wedge-shaped, steel, hinged 2 portion that provide a temporary anchor when used. Slips are 3 actuated whereby the wedge-shaped portions engage with the 4 surrounding borehole formation or a casing or liner.
6 However, the mechanical configuration of slips often causes 7 damage to the casing or liner. In some cases, the damage 8 causes the slip to fail due to a loss of mechanical grip.
9 Slip-type devices in open-hole engaging formation are often prone to slippage also.

12 According to an aspect of the present invention, there is 13 provided an apparatus for anchoring a first conduit to a 14 second conduit, the apparatus comprising an inflatable device for engaging with the first conduit, wherein the 16 inflatable device is inflatable to facilitate anchoring of 17 the first conduit to the second conduit; and an expander 18 device to expand a length of the first conduit.

According to another aspect of the present invention there 21 is provided an apparatus for anchoring a first conduit to a 22 second conduit, comprising: an inflatable device for 23 engaging with the first conduit, wherein the inflatable 24 device is inflatable to facilitate anchoring of the first conduit to the second conduit, and wherein the inflatable 26 device comprises an inflatable balloon portion coupled to a 27 ring.

29 According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided an apparatus for anchoring a first conduit to a 31 second conduit, comprising: an inflatable device for 32 engaging with the first conduit, wherein the inflatable 33 device is inflatable to facilitate anchoring of the first 1 conduit to the second conduit, and wherein, on inflation of 2 the inflatable device, a portion thereof directly contacts 3 the second conduit to provide an anchor; and an expander 4 device to expand a length of the first conduit.

6 According to another aspect of the present invention there 7 is provided an apparatus for expanding a tubular in a 8 borehole, comprising: a first section of the tubular having 9 an enlarged inner and outer diameter with respect to a second section of the tubular; a first device constructed 11 and arranged to expand at least a portion of the outer 12 diameter of the first section; and a second device 13 constructed and arranged to expand at least a portion of the 14 outer diameter of the second section.

16 According to another aspect of the present invention there 17 is provided an apparatus for expanding a tubular in a 18 borehole, comprising: a first section of the tubular having 19 an enlarged inner and outer diameter with respect to a second section of the tubular; and an expander tool having 21 an initial outer diameter thereof completely disposed in the 22 first section, the expander tool constructed and arranged to 23 expand the outer diameter of the first section adjacent the 24 expander tool and to expand the outer diameter of the second section.

27 According to another aspect of the present invention, there 28 is provided a method of anchoring a first conduit to a 29 second conduit, the method comprising providing a first conduit, providing an inflatable device in contact with the 31 first conduit, running the first conduit and inflatable 32 device into the second conduit, subsequently inflating the 33 inflatable device to facilitate anchoring of the first 5a 1 conduit to the second conduit; and expanding a length of the 2 first conduit with the expander device.

4 According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of anchoring an expandable conduit to a 6 second conduit, the method comprising providing an 7 expandable conduit, running the expandable conduit into the 8 second conduit, passing an assembly comprising an inflatable 9 device and an expander into the expandable conduit, inflating the inflatable device to facilitate anchoring of 11 the expandable conduit to the second conduit, and expanding 12 a length of the expandable conduit with the expander device.

14 According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of anchoring an expandable conduit 16 within a wellbore, comprising: running the expandable 17 conduit into the wellbore; passing an assembly comprising a 18 pressure actuated radially expandable device and an expander 19 into the expandable conduit; actuating the expandable device to facilitate anchoring of the expandable conduit in the 21 wellbore, and expanding a length of the expandable conduit 22 with the expander device.

24 According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of expanding a tubular in a borehole, 26 comprising: running an apparatus having first and second 27 devices for expanding the tubular into the borehole;
28 expanding a perimeter of a first discrete length of a first 29 section of the tubular with the first device; and expanding a perimeter of a second separate discrete length of a second 31 section of the tubular, wherein the first section of the 32 tubular has an enlarged inner and outer diameter with 5b 1 respect to the second section of the tubular prior to 2 expanding.

4 According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of expanding a tubular in a borehole, 6 comprising: running an apparatus having first and second 7 devices for expanding the tubular into the borehole, wherein 8 the devices are located within a first section while running 9 the tubular into the borehole; expanding at least a portion of the first section of the tubular with the first device;
11 and expanding at least a portion of a second section of the 12 tubular different from the first section of the tubular with 13 the second device.

According to another aspect of the present invention there 16 is provided a method of expanding a tubular in a borehole, 17 comprising: running an apparatus having first and second 18 devices for expanding the tubular into the borehole, wherein 19 the first device is an inflatable device which acts to create a fluid seal between the inflatable device and the 21 tubular; expanding a first discrete length of a first 22 section of the tubular with the first device; and expanding 23 a second separate discrete length of a second section of the 24 tubular.

26 The first or expandable conduit may comprise any type of 27 expandable conduit that is capable of sustaining plastic 28 and/or elastic deformation. The first conduit typically 29 comprises an expandable liner, casing or the like. The second conduit may comprise any type of conduit. The second 31 conduit typically comprises a liner, casing, borehole or the 32 like.

5c 1 The inflatable device typically comprises an inflatable 2 balloon-type portion coupled to a ring. This allows a string 3 or the like to be passed through the inflatable device in 4 use.
6 Optionally, the inflatable device includes an expander 7 device. The expander device is optionally telescopically 8 coupled to the inflatable device, so that when the expander 9 device is moved a certain distance, the inflatable device is deflated and subsequently moves with the expander device.

12 Alternatively, the expandable device may be releasably 13 attached to the inflatable device, typically using a latch 14 mechanism.

2 The inflatable device may be located within the 3 expandable conduit. Alternatively, the inflatable 4 device may be coupled at or near an upper end of the expandable conduit, or at or near a lower end of the 6 expandable conduit. The inflatable device may be 7 coupled to the expandable conduit using any suitable 8 connection.

The inflatable device is typically inflated to expand 11 the expandable conduit whereby the expandable conduit 12 contacts the second conduit, thereby providing an 13 anchor. In this embodiment, the expandable conduit is 14 optionally provided with a slotted portion to facilitate expansion. This is advantageous as the 16 contact between the expandable conduit and the second 17 conduit provides the anchor, and forces applied to the 18 expandable conduit are mainly channelled into the 19 second conduit via the expandable conduit and not the inflatable device.

22 Alternatively, the inflatable device is inflated 23 whereby a portion thereof directly contacts the second 24 conduit to provide an anchor.
26 The.expander device is typically manufactured from 27 steel. Alternatively, the expander device may be 28 manufactured from ceramic, or a combination of steel 29 and ceramic. The expander device is optionally flexible.

1 The expander device is optionally provided with at least one 2 seal. The seal typically comprises at least one 0-ring.

4 The method may comprise one, some or all of the additional steps of inserting an expander device into the expandable 6 conduit, operating the expander device to expand the 7 expandable conduit, deflating the inflatable device, and 8 removing the expander device and/or the inflatable device 9 from the expandable conduit and/or the second conduit.

11 The method may also comprise one, some or all of the 12 additional steps of attaching an expander device to the 13 inflatable device, operating the expander device to expand 14 the expandable conduit, re-attaching the expander device to the inflatable device, deflating the inflatable device, and 16 removing the expander device and/or the inflatable device 17 from the expandable conduit and/or second conduit.

19 The expander device is typically operated by propelling it through the expandable conduit using fluid pressure.

21 Alternatively, the expander device may be operated by 22 pigging it along the expandable conduit using a conventional 23 pig or tractor. The expander device may also be operated by 24 propelling it using a weight (from the string for example), or may by pulling it through the expandable conduit (e.g.

26 using drill pipe, rods, coiled tubing, a wireline or the 27 like).

1 Optionally, the inflatable device may act as a seal 2 whereby fluid pressure can be applied below the seal.

4 Embodiments of the present invention shall now be described, by way of example only, with reference to 6 the accompanying drawings, in which:-7 Figs la to ld are successive stages in anchoring 8 and expanding an expandable conduit within a 9 second conduit using a first embodiment of an inflatable device;

11 Figs 2a to 2d are successive stages in anchoring 12 and expanding an expandable conduit within a 13 borehole to tie back the expandable conduit to a 14 casing using a second embodiment of an inflatable device;

16 Figs 3a to 3d are successive stages in anchoring 17 and expanding an expandable conduit within a 18 second conduit using a third embodiment of an 19 inflatable device;

Fig. 4a is a front elevation showing a first 21 configuration of a friction and/or sealing 22 material that can be applied to an outer surface 23 of the conduits shown in Figs 1 to 3;

24 Fig. 4b is an end elevation of the friction and/or sealing material of Fig. 4a;

26 Fig. 4c i_s..an.enlarged view of a portion of the 27 material of Figs 4a and 4b showing a profiled 28 outer surface;

29 Fig. 5 is a schematic cross-section of an expandable conduit that can be used with the 31 present invention having an alternative 1 configuration of a friction and/or sealing 2 material;
3 Fig. 6a is an front elevation of the friction 4 and/or sealing material of Fig. 5; and Fig. 6b is an end elevation of the friction and/or 6 sealing material of Fig. 6a.

8 Referring to Fig. 1, there is shown in sequence (Figs 9 la to id) successive stages of anchoring an expandable conduit 10 to a casing 12 provided in a borehole (not 11 shown), the borehole typically being drilled to 12 facilitate the recovery of hydrocarbons. The 13 expandable conduit 10 is typically an expandable liner 14 or casing, but any type of expandable conduit may be used.

17 The borehole is conventionally lined with casing 12 to 18 prevent the formation around the borehole from 19 collapsing and also to prevent unwanted fluids from the surrounding formation from flowing into the borehole, 21 and similarly, prevents fluids from within the borehole 22 escaping into the surrounding formation. It should be 23 noted that the casing 12 may comprise any type of 24 conduit, such as a pipeline, a liner, a casing, a borehole or the like.

27 An inflatable device 14, that in this embodiment has an 28 expander device 16 telescopically attached thereto, is 29 positioned within the expandable conduit 10 before the conduit 10 is inserted into the casing 12.

1 Referring to Fig. la, the conduit 10 with the 2 inflatable device 14 and expander device 16 located 3 therein is run into the hole to the required setting 4 depth. As can be seen in Fig. la, a lower end 101 of 5 the expandable conduit 10 is radially expanded 6 (indicated generally at 18) to allow the inflatable 7 device 14 and the expander device 16 to be located 8 therein. It will be appreciated that although Figs la 9 to id show the inflatable device 14 and expander device 10 16 located at or near the lower end 101 of the conduit 11 10, the inflatable device 14 and/or the expander device 12 16 may also be located at or near an upper end of the 13 conduit 10. In this case, the expander device 16 is 14 propelled downwardly using, for example, the weight of a string, fluid pressure or any other conventional 16 method.

18 The inflatable device 14 may be of any suitable 19 configuration, but is typically a device that has an inflatable annular balloon-type portion 14b that is 21 mounted on an annular ring 14r. The annular ring 14r 22 allows a string, wireline or the like to be passed 23 through the inflatable device 14 as required. This is 24 particularly advantageous where the inflatable device 14 is positioned at the upper end of the conduit 10.

26 Thus,. substantially full-bore access is.still possible.

28 Referring to Fig. lb, the inflatable device 14 is 29 inflated to expand the inflatable annular balloon-type portion 14b. As the balloon-type portion 14b expands, 31 an anchor portion 10a of the conduit 10 is also 32 expanded. The anchor portion 10a is expanded by the 1 inflatable device 14 until it contacts the casing 12, 2 as shown in Fig. lb. This contact between the anchor 3 portion l0a of the expandable conduit 10 and casing 12 4 provides an anchor point and/or a seal between the expandable conduit 10 and the casing 12. The outer 6 surface of the anchor portion 10a may be suitably 7 profiled (e.g. ribbed) or coated with a friction and/or 8 sealing material 100 (Figs 4a to 4c) to enhance the 9 grip of the conduit 10 on the casing 12. The friction and/or sealing material 100 may comprise, for example, 11 any suitable type of rubber or other resilient 12 materials. It should be noted that the friction and/or 13 sealing material 100 can be provided on an outer 14 surface 10s of the conduit 10 at various axially spaced-apart locations.

17 Referring to Figs 4a to 4c, the friction and/or sealing 18 material 100 typically comprises first and second bands 19 102, 104 that are axially spaced apart along a longitudinal axis of the conduit 12. The first and 21 second bands 102, 104 are typically axially spaced by 22 some distance, for example 3 inches (approximately 23 76mm).

The first and second bands 102, 104 are preferably 26 annular bands that extend circumferentially around the 27 anchor point l0a of the conduit 10, although this 28 configuration is not essential. The first and second 29 bands 102, 104 typically comprise 1 inch wide (approximately 25.4mm) bands of a first type of rubber.
31 The friction and/or sealing material 100 need not 32 extend around the full circumference of the conduit 10.

2 Located between the first and second bands 102, 104 is 3 a third band 106 of a second type of rubber. The third 4 band 106 preferably extends between the first and second bands 102, 104 and is thus typically 3 inches 6 (approximately 76mm) wide.

8 The first and second bands 102, 104 are typically of a 9 first depth. The third band 106 is typically of a second depth. The first depth is optionally larger 11 than the second depth, although they are typically the 12 same, as shown in Fig. 4a. The first and second bands 13 102, 104 may protrude further from the surface 10s than 14 the third band 106, although this is not essential.

16 The first type of rubber (i.e. first and second bands 17 102, 104) is preferably of a harder consistency than 18 the second type of rubber (i.e. third band 106). The 19 first type of rubber is typically 90 durometer rubber, whereas the second type of rubber is typically 60 21 durometer rubber. Durometer is a conventional hardness 22 scale for rubber.

24 The particular properties of the rubber may be of any suitable type and the hardnessess quoted are exemplary 26 only. It should also be noted that the relative 27 dimensions and spacings of the first, second and third 28 bands 102, 104, 106 are exemplary only and may be of 29 any suitable dimensions and spacing.

31 As can be seen from Fig. 4c in particular, an outer 32 face 106s of the third band 106 can be profiled. The 1 outer face 106s is ribbed to enhance the grip of the 2 third band 106 on an inner face 12i of the casing 12.
3 It will be appreciated that an outer surface on the 4 first and second bands 102, 104 may also be profiled (e.g. ribbed).

7 The two outer bands 102, 104 being of a harder rubber 8 provide a relatively high temperature seal and a back-9 up seal to the relatively softer rubber of the third band 106. The third band 106 typically provides a 11 lower temperature seal.

13 Referring to Fig. 5, there is shown an alternative 14 conduit 120 that can be used in place of conduit 10.
Conduit 120 is substantially the same as conduit 10, 16 but is provided with a different configuration of 17 friction and/or sealing material 122 on an outer 18 surface 120s.

The expandable conduit 120 is provided with a pre-21 expanded portion 120e in which an expander device (e.g.
22 expander device 16) and/or an inflatable device (e.g.
23 device 14) may be located whilst the conduit 120 is run 24 into a borehole or the like. It should be noted that the expander device need not be located in the conduit 26 120 whilst itis being.runinto the borehole; and can 27 be located in the conduit 120 once it is in place.

29 As shown in Fig. 5, the expandable conduit 100 is provided with the friction and/or sealing material 122 31 at at least one location. The fiction and/or sealing 32 material 122 is applied to the outer surface 120s of 1 the conduit 120 at axially spaced apart locations, 2 typically spaced from one another by around 12 inches 3 (approximately 305mm).

The friction and/or sealing material 122 is best shown 6 in Figs 6a and 6b. The friction and/or sealing 7 material 122 is in the form of a zigzag. In this 8 embodiment, the friction and/or sealing material 122 9 comprises a single (preferably annular) band of rubber that is, for example, of 90 durometers hardness and is 11 about 2.5 inches (approximately 28mm) wide by around 12 0.12 inches (approximately 3mm) deep.

14 To provide a zigzag pattern and hence increase the strength of the grip and/or seal that the formation 150 16 provides in use, a number of slots 124a, 124b (e.g. 20) 17 are milled into the band of rubber. The slots 124a, 18 124b are typically in the order of 0.2 inches 19 (approximately 5mm) wide by around 2 inches (approximately 50mm) long.

22 To create the zigzag pattern, the slots 124a are milled 23 at around 20 circumferentially spaced-apart locations, 24 with around 18 between each along one edge 122a of the band. The process is then repeated by milling another 26 20 slots 124b on the.o.ther side 122b of the band, the 27 slots 124b on side 122b being circumferentially offset 28 by 9 from the slots 124a on the other side 122a.

In use, the friction and/or sealing material 122 is 31 applied to the outer surface 120s of the (unexpanded) 32 expandable conduit 120. It should be noted that the 1 configuration, number and spacing of the friction 2 and/or sealing material 122 can be chosen to suit the 3 particular application.

5 It should be noted that forces applied to the conduit 6 10, 120 e.g. by subsequent movement of the conduit 10, 7 120 that is by pushing or pulling on the conduit 10, 8 120 for example, will be mainly transferred to the 9 casing 12 via the anchor point and not through the 10 inflatable device 14. This is advantageous as it 11 reduces the risk of damage to the inflatable device 14.
12 Additionally, this also reduces the risk of damage to 13 the casing 12 that may have occurred where a 14 conventional slip is used. Also, conventional slips 15 may lose their grip on the casing 12 where damage 16 ensues or the casing 12 is weak. Transferring 17 substantially all of the forces directly to the casing 18 12 via the anchor point obviates these disadvantages.

The expander device 16 can then be pulled through the 21 expandable conduit 10, 120 to radially expand the 22 conduit 10, 120 as shown in Fig. ic. The expander 23 device 16 can be propelled through the conduit 10, 120 24 in any conventional manner. In Fig. 1, the expander device 16 is pulled through the conduit 10, 120 using a 26 string 20 that is attached to.the expander device 16 in 27 any conventional manner.

29 In the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the expander device 16 is telescopically coupled to the inflatable device 31 14 using a telescopic coupling, generally indicated at 32 22. Coupling 22 comprises one or more telescopically 1 coupled members 24 that are attached to the inflatable 2 device 14. As the expander device 16 is pulled 3 upwards, the telescopic coupling 22 extends a certain 4 distance, say 10 feet (approximately 3 metres) , at which point the telescopic member(s) 24 are fully 6 extended. At this point, the inflatable balloon-type 7 portion 14b is automatically deflated and further 8 upward movement of the expander device 16 causes the 9 inflatable device 14 also to move upward, as shown in Fig. ld.

12 It should be noted that the inflatable device 14 is no 13 longer required to anchor the conduit 10, 120 to the 14 casing 12 as the expanded conduit 10 (Figs ic and id) secure the (expanded and unexpanded) conduit 10, 120 to 16 the casing 12. The friction and/or sealing material 17 100, 122 is used to enhance the grip of the conduit 10, 18 120 on the casing 12 in use, and can also provide a 19 seal in an annulus created between the conduit 10, 120 and the casing 12.

22 The expander device 16 is continually pulled upwards 23 towards the surface until the expandable conduit 10, 24 120 is fully expanded to contact the casing 12.

Thereafter, the inflatable device 14 and the expander 26 device 16 may be removed from the expandable conduit 27 10, 120 and/or the casing 12 at the surface.

29 Anchoring and expanding the expandable conduit 10, 120 in this way has several advantages. With the 31 embodiment shown in Fig. 1, it is possible to deploy a 32 control line or coiled tubing to control operation of 1 the inflatable device 14 and any other apparatus 2 located in the borehole, and a control line, wireline 3 or coiled tubing may be used to propel or pull the 4 expander device 16. With the embodiment shown in Fig.
1, there is no pressure exposure to the surrounding 6 formation and no rig is required. With the inflatable 7 device 14 configured as an annular ring 14r, 8 substantially full bore access is still possible.

It should be noted that the method described with 11 reference to Fig. 1 is intended to expand the 12 expandable conduit 10, 120 in a single pass of the 13 expander device 16 through the expandable conduit 10, 14 120, but multiple passes and/or expansions are possible.

17 Referring to Fig. 2, there is shown in sequence (Figs 18 2a to 2d) successive stages of hanging an expandable 19 conduit 30 off a casing 32 (ie tying back a liner), the expandable conduit 30 typically comprising an 21 expandable liner and being used to line or case a lower 22 portion of a borehole 34, the borehole 34 typically 23 being drilled to facilitate the recovery of 24 hydrocarbons. The lower portion of the borehole 34 has not been lined/cased, wherein the upper portion of the 26 borehole 3.4_has been lined with an existing casing or 27 liner 36.

29 In the embodiment shown in Fig. 2, the expandable conduit 30 is provided with a friction and/or sealing 31 material 38 on an outer surface thereof. The function 32 of the friction and/or sealing material 38 is to 1 provide a (friction and/or sealing) coupling between 2 the expandable conduit 30 and the existing liner or 3 casing 36. The friction and/or sealing material 38 may 4 also provide a seal between the lower (unlined) and upper (lined) portions of the borehole 34. The 6 friction and/or sealing material may comprise, for 7 example, any suitable type of rubber or other resilient 8 materials. For example, the friction and/or sealing 9 material 38 can be configured in a similar way to the friction and/or sealing material 100, 122 described 11 above with reference to Figs 4 to 6.

13 Additionally, the conduit 30 may be provided with 14 friction and/or sealing material (e.g. material 100, 122) at a lower end 301 of the conduit 30 to enhance 16 the anchoring effect at this portion of the conduit.
17 Additionally, the friction and/or sealing material can 18 be provided at various spaced-apart locations along the 19 length of the conduit 30 to enhance the coupling between the conduit 30 and the borehole 34 or casing 21 36.

23 Referring to Fig. 2, an inflatable device 40, that has 24 an expander device 42 releasably attached thereto, is positioned within the expandable conduit 30 before the 26 conduit 30 is inserted into the borehole 34. The 27 conduit 30 is provided with an expandable portion of 28 casing or liner 44, portion 44 being provided with a 29 plurality of longitudinal slots 48. The portion 44 may be located at a lower end 301 of the conduit 30 or may 31 be integral therewith.

1 Referring to Fig. 2a, the conduit 30 with the 2 inflatable device 40 and expander device 42 releasably 3 attached at or near a lower end thereof, is run into 4 the borehole 34 to the required setting depth. As can be seen in Fig. 2a, a lower end 301 of the conduit 30 6 is radially expanded (indicated generally at 50) to 7 allow the expander device 42 to be located therein. It 8 will be appreciated that although Figs 2a to 2d show 9 the inflatable device 40 and expander device 42 located at or near the lower end 301 of the conduit 30, the 11 inflatable device 40 and/or the expander device 42 may 12 also be located at or near an upper end of the conduit 13 30. In this case, the expander device 42 is propelled 14 downwardly using, for example, the weight of a string, fluid pressure or any other conventional method.

17 The inflatable device 40 may be of any suitable 18 configuration, but is typically a device that has an 19 inflatable annular balloon-type portion 40b that is mounted on an annular ring 40r. The annular ring 40r 21 allows a string, wireline or the like to be passed 22 through the inflatable device 40 as required. This is 23 particularly advantageous where the inflatable device 24 40 is positioned at the upper end of the conduit 30.
26 Referring to Fig. 2b,the inflatable device-40 is 27 inflated to expand the inflatable annular balloon-type 28 portion 40b. As the balloon-type portion 40b expands, 29 the expandable portion 44 of conduit 30 also expands.
As can be seen in Fig. 2b, the longitudinal slots 48 31 widen as the portion 44 expands. Portion 44 acts as an 32 anchor for the casing 30 and is expanded until it 1 contacts the borehole 34, as shown in Fig. 2b. This 2 contact between portion 44 and the borehole 34 provides 3 an anchor point and/or a seal between the expandable 4 conduit 30 (to which portion 44 is attached or integral 5 therewith) and the borehole 34.

7 As with the previous embodiment, the expander device 42 8 is then pulled through the expandable conduit 30 to 9 radially expand the conduit 30, as shown in Fig. 2c.
10 The expander device 42 can be propelled through the 11 conduit 30 in any conventional manner. In Fig. 2, the 12 expander device 42 is pulled through the conduit 30 13 using a drill pipe or string 52 that is attached to the 14 expander device 42 in any conventional manner.

16 As the expander device 42 is pulled upwards, the upward 17 movement thereof is stopped after a predetermined time 18 or distance, at which point the expander device 42 is 19 lowered until a coupling between the expander device 42 and the inflatable device 40 latches. As with the 21 previous embodiments, the inflatable annular balloon-22 type portion 40b is automatically deflated and further 23 upward movement of the expander device 42 causes the 24 inflatable device 40 also to move upward, as shown in Fig. 2d. It should be noted that the upward movement 26 of the expander device 42 should only be stopped once a 27 sufficient length of conduit 30 has been expanded to 28 provide a sufficient anchor.

It should also be noted that the portion 44 is no 31 longer required to anchor the conduit 30 to the 32 borehole 34 as the expanded conduit 30 (Figs 2c and 2d) 1 secures the conduit 30 to the borehole 34. The 2 friction and/or sealing material (where used) can help 3 to provide a reliable anchor for the conduit 30 whilst 4 it is being expanded and also when in use.

6 The expander device 42 is continually pulled upwards 7 until the conduit 30 is fully expanded, as shown in 8 Fig. 2d. Thereafter, the inflatable device 40 and the 9 expander device 42 may be removed from the expandable conduit 30 and the borehole at the surface. As shown 11 in Fig. 2d, the conduit 30 expands whereby the friction 12 and/or sealing material 38 contacts the casing 36.
13 This provides a tie back to the casing 36 and 14 optionally a seal between the upper (lined) portion of the wellbore and the lower (lined) borehole 34, 16 depending upon the composition of the material 38.

18 With the embodiment shown in Fig. 2, there is no 19 pressure exposure to the formation, full bore access is still possible, the conduit 30 may be expanded in a 21 single pass (multiple passes possible) and it may be 22 used to anchor and set in an open hole. Additionally, 23 it provides a tie back to the casing 36 in a single 24 pass of the expander device 42. It should be noted that the method described with reference to Fig. 2 is 26 intended.to tie back the casing in a single.pass, but 27 multiple passes and/or expansions are possible.

29 It should also be noted that successive lengths of expandable conduit may be coupled to casings or liners 31 thereabove using the same method. Thus, the method(s) 1 described herein may be used to line or case a borehole 2 without the use of cement.

4 Referring to Fig. 3, there is shown in sequence (Figs 3a to 3d) successive stages of anchoring an expandable 6 conduit 80 to a casing 82 provided in a borehole (not 7 shown), the borehole typically being drilled to 8 facilitate the recovery of hydrocarbons.

An inflatable device 84 is releasably attached to a 11 lower end 801 of the expandable conduit 80 before the 12 conduit 80 is inserted into the casing 82. The 13 expander device 86 is located within the lower end 801 14 of the conduit 80, the lower end 801 being expanded to accommodate the expander device a6. Similar to the 16 previous embodiment, the inflatable device 84 has the 17 expander device 86 releasably coupled thereto via a 18 coupling 88. Otherwise, the inflatable device 84 and 19 the expander device 86 are substantially the same as the previous embodiments.

22 Referring to Fig. 3a, the casing 80 with the inflatable 23 device 84 attached thereto and the expander device 86 24 located therein is run into the hole to the required setting depth. It will be appreciated that although 26 Figs 3a to 3d show.the inflatable_device 84 releasably 27 attached to the lower end 801 of the conduit 80, the 28 inflatable device 84 may be releasably attached at or 29 near an upper end of the conduit 80.

31 The inflatable device 84 may be of any suitable 32 configuration, but is typically a device that has an 1 inflatable annular balloon-type portion 84b that is 2 mounted on an annular ring 84r. The annular ring 84r 3 allows a string, wireline or the like to be passed 4 through the inflatable device 84 as required. This is particularly advantageous where the inflatable device 6 84 and/or the expander device 86 are positioned at the 7 upper end of the conduit 80.

9 Referring to Fig. 3b, the inflatable device 84 is inflated to expand the inflatable annular balloon-type 11 portion 84b. As the balloon-type portion 84b expands, 12 it contacts the casing 82, thus providing an anchor 13 between the conduit 80 and the casing 82. This contact 14 between the balloon-type portion 84b and the casing 82 provides an anchor point and/or a seal between the 16 conduit 80 and the casing 82.

18 It should be noted that in this embodiment, the forces 19 applied to the conduit 80 by subsequent movement of the conduit 80, that is by pushing or pulling on the 21 conduit 80 for example, will be transferred to the 22 casing 82 via the inflatable device 84. However, 23 unlike conventional slips, the inflated balloon-type 24 portion 84b is less likely to damage the casing.
Additionally, the size of the balloon-type portion 84b 26 can be chosen whereby it..is sufficiently.large so as 27 not to lose its grip on the casing 82, even when the 28 inflatable device 84 is moved upwardly or downwardly.

The expander device 86 is pulled through the expandable 31 conduit 80 to radially expand the conduit 80, as shown 32 in Fig. 3c. The expander device 86 can be propelled 1 through the conduit 80 in any conventional manner, as 2 with the previous embodiments.

4 Also, and as with the previous embodiments, an outer surface 80s of the conduit 80 can be provided with a 6 friction and/or sealing material. The friction and/or 7 sealing material may comprise, for example, any 8 suitable type of rubber or other resilient materials.
9 For example, the friction and/or sealing material can be configured in a similar way to the friction and/or 11 sealing material 100, 122 described above with 12 reference to Figs 4 to 6.

14 Additionally, the conduit 80 may be provided with friction and/or sealing material (e.g. material 100, 16 122) at a lower end 801 of the conduit 80 to enhance 17 the anchoring effect at this portion of the conduit 80.
18 Additionally, the friction and/or sealing material can 19 be provided at various spaced-apart locations along the length of the conduit 80 to enhance the coupling 21 between the conduit 80 and the casing 82.

23 As the expander device 86 is pulled upwards, the upward 24 movement thereof is stopped after a predetermined time or distance, at which point the expander device 84 is 26 lowe-red until the coupling 88 between the expander 27 device 86 and the inflatable device 86 latches. As 28 with the previous embodiments, the inflatable balloon-29 type portion 84b is automatically deflated and further upward movement of the expander device 86 causes the 31 inflatable device 84 also to move upward, as shown in 32 Fig. 3d. It should be noted that the upward movement WO 01/18354 CA 02388360 2002-02-26 pCT/GB00/03406 1 of the expander device 86 should only be stopped once a 2 sufficient length of conduit 80 has been expanded to 3 provide a sufficient anchor.

5 The expander device 86 is continually pulled upwards 6 towards the surface until the conduit 80 is fully 7 expanded to contact the casing 82. Thereafter, the 8 inflatable device 84 and the expander device 86 may be 9 removed from the borehole at the surface.

11 Anchoring and expanding the conduit 80 in this way has 12 the same advantages as in the previous embodiment, but 13 the Fig. 3 embodiment is designed to anchor and set in 14 cased hole rather than open hole.

16 The method and apparatus described herein may be used 17 for a plurality of different downhole functions 18 relating to the use of expandable conduit. For 19 example, they may be used where the original liner or casing requires to be repaired due to damage or the 21 like by overlaying the damaged portion with a portion 22 of expandable conduit. They may also be used to tie 23 back to the liner or casing, as described herein.

Thus, there is provided in certain embodiments an 26 apparatus and method of anchoring.an.expandable.c.onduit-27 to a second conduit. The apparatus and method of 28 certain embodiments provide numerous advantages over 29 conventional mechanical anchoring devices, such as slips, particularly by reducing the potential damage to 31 conduits that mechanical slips may cause. Certain 32 embodiments of apparatus and methods involve the use of 1 an inflatable device that can either be a) attached 2 directly at or near the top or bottom of the expandable 3 conduit, or b) placed within the top or bottom of the 4 expandable conduit. In a), anchoring forces are generated as a result of friction between the 6 inflatable device and the second conduit, the forces 7 being passed into the conduit via the inflatable 8 device. In b), anchoring forces are generated by 9 friction between an outer surface of the expandable conduit and the second conduit, the forces being 11 substantially passed into the second conduit directly 12 via the expandable conduit. The outer surface of the 13 expandable conduit may be suitably prepared (ie 14 provided with a friction enhancing material) to increase the strength of the anchor.

17 Modifications and improvements may be made to the 18 foregoing without departing from the scope of the 19 present invention.

Claims (49)

1. Apparatus for anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit, the apparatus comprising: an inflatable device for engaging with the first conduit, wherein the inflatable device is inflatable to facilitate anchoring of the first conduit to the second conduit; and an expander device to expand a length of the first conduit.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the first conduit is an expandable conduit.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the first conduit comprises any type of expandable conduit that is capable of sustaining deformation.
4. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the first conduit is selected from the group of conduits consisting of expandable liner and expandable casing.
5. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the second conduit is selected from the group of conduits consisting of liner, casing and boreholes.
6. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the expander device is telescopically coupled to the inflatable device, so that when the expander device is moved a certain distance, the inflatable device is deflated and subsequently moves with the expander.
7. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the expander device is releasably attached to the inflatable device.
8. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the expander device is releasably attached to the inflatable device using a latch mechanism.
9. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the inflatable device is located within the first conduit.
10. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the inflatable device is coupled near an end of the first conduit.
11. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the inflatable device is inflated to expand the first conduit whereby the first conduit contacts the second conduit, thereby providing an anchor.
12. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the first conduit is provided with a slotted portion to facilitate expansion.
13. Apparatus for anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit, comprising:
an inflatable device for engaging with the first conduit, wherein the inflatable device is inflatable to facilitate anchoring of the first conduit to the second conduit, and wherein the inflatable device comprises an inflatable balloon portion coupled to a ring.
14. Apparatus for anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit, comprising:
an inflatable device for engaging with the first conduit, wherein the inflatable device is inflatable to facilitate anchoring of the first conduit to the second conduit, and wherein, on inflation of the inflatable device, a portion thereof directly contacts the second conduit to provide an anchor; and an expander device to expand a length of the first conduit.
15. A method of anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit, comprising:
providing the first conduit, an expander device, and an inflatable device in contact with the first conduit, running the first conduit and inflatable device into the second conduit, inflating the inflatable device to facilitate anchoring of the first conduit to the second conduit, and expanding a length of the first conduit with the expander device.
16. A method of anchoring an expandable conduit to a second conduit, comprising: providing the expandable conduit, running the expandable conduit into the second conduit, passing an assembly comprising an inflatable device and an expander into the expandable conduit, inflating the inflatable device to facilitate anchoring of the expandable conduit to the second conduit, and expanding a length of the expandable conduit with the expander device.
17. A method according to claim 16, wherein the method further includes deflating the inflatable device, removing the expander device from the expandable conduit and removing the inflatable device from the expandable conduit.
18. A method according to claim 16 or claim 17, wherein the method further includes attaching the expander device to the inflatable device, deflating the inflatable device, removing the expander device from the expandable conduit and removing the inflatable device from the expandable conduit.
19. The method according to any one of claims 16 to 18, wherein the assembly is disposed within the expandable conduit during the running.
20. The method according to any one of claims 16 to 19, wherein the expander device of the assembly is disposed within the expandable conduit and the inflatable device is disposed outside the expandable conduit during the running.
21. A method of anchoring an expandable conduit within a wellbore, comprising:
running the expandable conduit into the wellbore;
passing an assembly comprising a pressure actuated radially expandable device and an expander into the expandable conduit;
actuating the expandable device to facilitate anchoring of the expandable conduit in the wellbore, and expanding a length of the expandable conduit with the expander device.
22. An apparatus for expanding a tubular in a borehole, comprising:
a first section of the tubular having an enlarged inner and outer diameter with respect to a second section of the tubular;
a first device constructed and arranged to expand at least a portion of the outer diameter of the first section; and a second device constructed and arranged to expand at least a portion of the outer diameter of the second section.
23. The apparatus of claim 22, wherein the first device is radially expandable.
24. The apparatus of claim 22 or claim 23, wherein the first device is an inflatable device.
25. The apparatus of claim 24, incorporating sealing means between the inflatable device and the expandable tubular.
26. The apparatus of any one of claims 22 to 25, wherein the second device is coupled to a support member for applying axial force to the second device.
27. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the second device is an expansion cone.
28. The apparatus of any one of claims 22 to 27, wherein the first and second devices are at least partially disposed in the first section prior to expansion thereof.
29. The apparatus of claim 28, wherein the second device has an outer diameter that is larger than the inner diameter of the second section.
30. The apparatus of any one of claims 22 to 29, wherein each device includes a member for contacting an inner wall of the first and second section during expansion.
31. The apparatus of any one of claims 22 to 30, wherein the first section is slotted.
32. The apparatus of any one of claims 22 to 31, wherein the apparatus is wellbore lining apparatus.
33. A method of expanding a tubular in a borehole, comprising:
running an apparatus having first and second devices for expanding the tubular into the borehole;
expanding a perimeter of a first discrete length of a first section of the tubular with the first device; and expanding a perimeter of a second separate discrete length of a second section of the tubular, wherein the first section of the tubular has an enlarged inner and outer diameter with respect to the second section of the tubular prior to expanding.
34. The method of claim 33, wherein the first section of the tubular has a first property different from a second property of the second section of the tubular.
35. The method of claim 34, wherein the first section of the tubular has a plurality of slots in a wall thereof and the second section of the tubular has a solid wall.
36. The method of any one of claims 33 to 35, wherein at least one of the first and second devices are located within the first section while running the tubular into the borehole.
37. The method of any one of claims 33 to 36, wherein the devices are located within the first section while running the tubular into the borehole.
38. The method of any one of claims 33 to 37, wherein expanding at least a portion of the first section anchors the tubular within the borehole.
39. The method of any one of claims 33 to 38, wherein expanding at least a portion of the first section places an outside portion of the tubular into contact with the borehole.
40. The method of any one of claims 33 to 39, wherein expanding at least a portion of the first section places an outside portion of the tubular into contact with a surrounding tubular disposed in the borehole.
41. The method of any one of claims 33 to 40, comprising the step of radially expanding at least part of the first section by radially expanding at least a portion of the expansion tool.
42. The method of any one of claims 33 to 41, wherein the first device is an inflatable device.
43. The method of any one of claims 33 to 42, wherein a weight is applied to the second device to apply an axial force thereto.
44. The method of any one of claims 33 to 42, wherein a pulling force is applied to move the second device in an axial direction through the expandable tubular.
45. An apparatus for expanding a tubular in a borehole, comprising:
a first section of the tubular having an enlarged inner and outer diameter with respect to a second section of the tubular; and an expander tool having an initial outer diameter thereof completely disposed in the first section, the expander tool constructed and arranged to expand the outer diameter of the first section adjacent the expander tool and to expand the outer diameter of the second section.
46. The method of claim 45, wherein expanding at least a portion of the second section includes applying an axial force to the second device.
47. A method of expanding a tubular in a borehole, comprising:
running an apparatus having first and second devices for expanding the tubular into the borehole, wherein the devices are located within a first section while running the tubular into the borehole;
expanding at least a portion of the first section of the tubular with the first device; and expanding at least a portion of a second section of the tubular different from the first section of the tubular with the second device.
48. A method of expanding a tubular in a borehole, comprising:
running an apparatus having first and second devices for expanding the tubular into the borehole, wherein the first device is an inflatable device which acts to create a fluid seal between the inflatable device and the tubular;
expanding a first discrete length of a first section of the tubular with the first device; and expanding a second separate discrete length of a second section of the tubular.
49. The method of claim 48, further comprising injecting pressurized fluid between the first device and the second device such that the pressurized fluid propels the second device in an axial direction.
CA 2388360 1999-09-06 2000-09-06 Apparatus for and method of anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit Expired - Fee Related CA2388360C (en)

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GB9920935.5 1999-09-06
GBGB9920935.5A GB9920935D0 (en) 1999-09-06 1999-09-06 Apparatus for and a method of anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit
PCT/GB2000/003406 WO2001018354A1 (en) 1999-09-06 2000-09-06 Apparatus for and method of anchoring a first conduit to a second conduit

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JP (1) JP4508510B2 (en)
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CA2388360A1 (en) 2001-03-15
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EP1210502A1 (en) 2002-06-05
NO331581B1 (en) 2012-01-30
EA200200338A1 (en) 2002-10-31
EP1555386A1 (en) 2005-07-20
US6860329B1 (en) 2005-03-01
AU7021000A (en) 2001-04-10
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DE60032615T2 (en) 2007-09-13
US7124823B2 (en) 2006-10-24
EP1555386B1 (en) 2008-04-16
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OA12013A (en) 2006-04-19
EP1210502B1 (en) 2006-12-27
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DE60032615D1 (en) 2007-02-08
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EA003385B1 (en) 2003-04-24
US20050133225A1 (en) 2005-06-23

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